Tips for Cleaning Damaged Photo Prints, Negatives and Albums
Fujifilm knows how important your photos are to you, so if your photos or negatives are damaged by caked-on mud or sand, here are some tips that may be successful in cleaning prints.
However, if the photo image itself is seriously damaged, there may be no way to restore your photo. Depending on the type of photo prints you have, the cleaning method varies. If you are unsure of what type you have, bring them to your local photo retailer to find out. Once you know the type of prints you have, click on the appropriate link below. These cleaning methods are not guaranteed. Fujifilm assumes no responsibility and shall not be liable for any damage that occurs to you or your photos as a result of the cleaning methods outlined below.
- If a photo print is completely or mostly dry, first lightly remove any mud on the surface using a soft brush. If you do not have a brush or if the photo print is only partially dry or wet, proceed directly to Step 2.
- To remove large pieces of dirt pass the photo print through still (non-running), room temperature water (approximately 68-86°F). You may obtain better results if you wear thin disposable latex-like gloves. Do not forcibly scratch the photo as the surface can become damaged.
- Next, soak the photo print in clean, room temperature water for approximately 30-60 seconds before starting the cleaning process.
- While submerged, hold photo by the edges. Then start at the outside corners and move toward the center, gently using the tip of your finger or a soft brush to wipe the surface of the print and delicately remove any remaining mud or sand. If the surface of the print changes, stop wiping. If part of the image surface of the print easily turns red, yellow or white during these procedures, this indicates that the image is significantly damaged and should not be touched further. When the image surface is seriously damaged, it feels slippery to touch even when wearing thin gloves. If this occurs, the print surface should only be lightly rinsed in water.
- Do not forget to wipe dirt off the back. A small paint brush will remove dirt more efficiently than your finger when cleaning the back.
- Once cleaning is finished, rinse in still (non-running), clean, cool water, and leave to dry in the shade or in a dark place where dust will not settle on the photo. It is fine to spread photos out on newspaper (image side up) or hang them to dry using clothes pins. Rapid drying using hair dryers or other hot air or heating devices is not recommended as the heat may cause the photo print to curl up.
*Please note that depending on the condition and extent of damage to the photo, the image surface may peel away and be unable to be cleaned, especially if the prints have been wet for a long period of time. Please first try working with a corner of the print. Once cleaned and the image has dried, you may want to take the photo print or negative film and create duplicates that can be stored.
Traditional silver halide prints or album pages that are stuck together
- Follow the steps below. Do not forcibly try to peel them apart.
- First remove any dirt, mud or sand according to directions above.
- Next, soak the lightly cleaned photo prints or album in still (non-running), clean, room temperature (68-86° F) water.
- Taking care not to damage the print surface, slowly and gently peel away the overlapping prints in order, from top to bottom. In the case of an album, the surfaces of photo prints may be facing each other, so the album backing paper should be sufficiently soaked in water before you attempt to peel the prints apart.
- It is important to let water gradually seep into the spaces in between the prints that are stuck together. Take your time peeling them away. Be prepared to sacrifice the album to save the prints. If the album page does not peel away, do not use force. Let it soak longer in water and wait for the edges to naturally peel apart. This may take 30 minutes to an hour or longer.
- Once you have peeled the photo prints from the album, rinse in clean, cool water and leave them to dry in the shade or in a dark place where dust will not settle on the photos. Spread the prints out on newspaper or hang them to dry using clothes pins. Rapid drying using hair dryers or other hot air or heating devices is not recommended as the heat may cause the photo print to curl up.
- If processed film negatives have been stored in film sleeves, and there is little damage to negatives, you can have them printed again.
- If they are not in sleeves or have sustained damage and are dry, lightly remove any mud on the surface of the sheet using a soft brush. If you do not have a brush or if the negative is only partially dry or wet, proceed directly to Step 3.
- Pass the film or plastic sleeve containing the negative through still (non-running), clean, room temperature water (68°F to 86°F), to remove large sections of dirt. Do not forcibly scratch the negative as the surface will be damaged.
- Next, soak the negative or sleeve containing the negative in room temperature water for 30-60 seconds.
- Hold both sides by the sprocket holes to ensure you do not damage the negative image surface, and gently shake the film in the water to clean it. If the negative is stuck to another negative strip, let it soak until they peel apart naturally. Be sure not to forcibly peel it away.
- If part of the negative’s image surface or border is clear and transparent, this indicates serious damage to the negative. If you are able to peel the negative from the sleeve, lightly rinse in still (non-running) water while holding the edges and be sure not to touch the film.
- Once cleaning is finished, rinse in clean, cool water, and leave to dry in the shade or in a dark place where dust will not settle on the negative. Insert a bent paperclip into a sprocket hole on the side of the negative to pass and hang the negative to dry, or use clothes pins. Rapid drying using hair dryers or other hot air or heating devices is not recommended as the heat may cause the negative to curl up.
- First, let the photos dry on a clean, flat surface.
- Next, gently wipe the surface with damp, clean towel.
- If prints are stuck together, there is no need to soak them in water as they will easily peel apart when they are dry.
- If prints are dry and separate, use a soft brush to clean the surface.
- There is no need to soak them in water if there is not much dirt.
- If there is a lot of dirt, quickly soak them in still (non-running) lukewarm water (68-86° F) for 30-60 seconds, and lightly wipe away the dirt with your finger.
- If they are stuck together, they should peel away after being soaked for about a minute. Quickly remove them from the water. Do not try to force the photos apart.
- If you leave them to soak too long or forcefully scratch the image surface, the color ink may peel away, fade, or become blurred.
- Dry the prints in the shade. The conditions may vary depending on the type of ink.